Archive for October, 2009

Holidays and Olive Harvest at Villa La Rogaia in Umbria FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

The liquid gold coming freshly from the oil mill

During what time of the year the olive harvest is going to happen?

The harvest is held every year beetween the end of October and

December. The exact start of the olive harvest may vary some days, according to the grade of maturity of the olives

In a year with many olives the harvest can even last until the first two weeks of December.

How warm is it in November?

November in Umbria is mostly warm and sunny, much warmer as for instance in England at the same time of the year.

During day time temperatures can superate 20° Celsius (68° Fahrenheit)

Yet it can be already cool at night. Thus you might need warm clothing as well as let´s say some t-shirts.

How hard is olive picking?

Please consider that picking olives can be physically exhausting if you want to take home bigger quantities of olive oil and thus pick the whole day. Often it is necessary to climb up ladders to reach the upper branches. Hence we do not expect you to pick large quantities but hope that you will rather enjoy this way of intense contact with nature.

What do I do, if I cannot climb on trees anymore

Normally three to five persons join to build a picking team. In most cases one of the group likes to take a look at the landscape from above, picking the higher branches. The others can pick the olives which can be reached from the ground.

How long do I have to pick olives each day?

There are no rules. You can pick as long and as much as you wish. If you want to, you have always enough time for excursions and sightseeing in the surroundings. Of course you can take with you more olive oil if you pick more olives.

If you find out however, that olive picking is not to your liking this is absolutely no problem. Simply enjoy yourself discovering the manyfold culinary and cultural treasures of Umbria.

Do you offer half board during the olive harvest?

During the oilve harvest we do not offer food but the group of pickers often prepares meals together in a common kitchen. Our apartments are well equipped for selfcatering, the next possibilities for shopping and restaurants are at the village of Castel Rigone at 4 km distance from La Rogaia. On the last evening we will invite the group of pickers for the traditional “rinfresco”, an informal dinner.

How long takes the olive harvest?

We start with the olive picking on Sunday morning after a short introduction and pick until Thursday evening or Friday noon.

What about the oil mill ? Can I watch the pressing of the olives?

According to the quantity of olives we bring them together to a small oil mill two or three times a week There they are pressed and we can take home immediately the oil from the olives you have picked.

Of course you can and shall come to the oil mill. You can watch the complete pressing from the beginning to the end. Of course you have the possibility to ask questions as well.

How much olive oil do I receive?

Half of the olives you pick are yours and you can take home the oil pressed from them. Depending on the year, the weather during the week and how much time you spend picking this can be between 2 and at maximum 15 litres (but this rarely is the case) olive oil per person per week. For the pressing of the oil the oil mill will charge about EUR 1.80 per lt. oil.

Please consider that the yield of high class olive oil you can get from 100kg (22 pounds) of olives normally is somewhere beetween 10kg and 15kg (22 to 33 pounds).

In rare case it can be slightly less or more, depending on the weather conditions during the olive blossom and while the the olives are maturing.

Consider also that you do fairly well if you pick about 40kg to 50kg (88 to 110 pounds), of olives a day, specially if you have few experience with manual work.


Why do I not receive the complete oil I picked?

The olive harvest is only one part and the highlight of all the work to be done in the olive orchard during the year.

The trees have to be pruned regularly you have to cut grass and spines and work the soil. Of course the trees have to be planted and grown first. And of course it is not cheap to buy an olive orchard…


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Let´s go for a truffle hunt

trüffel auf der hand mit trüffelhund_kl_opr

"Here´s the truffle" and Asia the truffle dog gets her reward

Yesterday I accompanied our guests to a truffle hunt for the first time.

For quite a while now we have been offering the truffle hunt to the participants of our Italian Cooking classes.

Up to now however it has always been my wife who had accompanied the truffle hunters and had been quite enthusiastic about it. High time for myself to join them at last. Together with professional truffle hunters and their dogs we ´ll start the quest for the precious tubers.

We met first with our guides Lena and Saverio at the antique city wall of Citerna a really pretty Umbrian hill town overlooking the Tiber valley.

(For those of you who are interested in art: It´s only a stone´s throw from

Monterchi where the world famous „Madonna del Parto“ from Piero della Francesca is to be seen. And by the way, Citerna´s little church hosts a real Della Robbia Sculpture)

From here we went in convoy to the truffle „plantation“ a little fenced in wood (Truffle places in the wild are top secret and by the tartufai, the truffle hunters their locations are revealed only within the closest circle of family members if they are revealed at all)

At the entrance to the truffle wood we came to know the truffle hunters and their dogs, Asia (a very experienced “truffle nose”) and Sandy (her still a little lumbering apprentice).  Some introductory explanations and off we go…

The dogs released from the leash are off so quick we can hardly follow.

A mere  hundred meters in front of us Asia starts to dig with all her force and Giovanni her “padrone” has a hard time holding her back                                                                                                                                                                                                           (It´s not that dogs eat up the truffles in a rush like truffle pigs would do and therefore are hardly used anymore. Yet a truffle is damaged quickly by sharp teeth or big paws)

Finally the truffle is dug out by one of our ladies following the experts instructions using the small truffle hunters spade. She hands it to the others. Still dirty and somewhat unimpressive it has the distinctive truffle scent and of course everybody of our group wants to smell it.

Of course Asia gets her dog cookie (no dog that takes pride in itself works without a reward)

That´s how it went on, while Saverio sometimes on the double continued to explain us more about truffles and truffle hunt.

After nearly an hour we had almost filled our bag. 360 gramms as we discovered later on the scales.

The dogs were still fit and would have happily carried on but we were rather yearning for a cappuccino before the truffle tasting started…

(To be continued)

der trüffelhund will seinen anteil_kl_opr

Also the truffle dog wants its share

About the truffle hunt

Depending on season and climate you can find different types of truffles, black summer truffle black winter truffle white spring truffle or the most valuable white winter truffle. Participants can watch the truffle hunters at work but are also invited to dig the truffles out of the earth with the truffle hunters spade, once the dogs have found them.

Finally it depends on the fine noses of the truffle dogs how many truffles end up in the truffle hunters bags.

After the truffle hunt participants will visit a small but exclusive enterprise which refines the fresh truffles.

Finally there will be a truffle tasting with different types of truffles and a variety of truffle products accompanied by some glasses of genuine local wine.

If you like to have more information about the truffle hunt simply ask us.

tartufaio gmit hund_kl_opr

Giovanni the "tartufaio", truffle hunter, with his dog Asia

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Holidays with Olive Harvest at Villa La Rogaia. Stay healthy and have fun

picking olives on a sunny November day steadily but at your own pace, quick or slow it´s up to you... almost a meditation      Photo: Peter von Felbert

Picking olives on a sunny November day steadily but at your own pace, quick or slow it´s up to you... almost a meditation Photo: Peter von Felbert

Stay healthy and have fun.

Holidays with Olive Harvest at Villa La Rogaia  give a lot of benefits to your health

Those who participated already at the olive harvest at La Rogaia know that it is a strenous but also beautiful work which can make you highly addicted. Many of our guests return for the olive harvest hunting the “liquid gold of Umbria” every year…

Just imagine yourself sitting upon an olive tree on a sunny November day,  enjoying the wide view over the green Umbrian hills around.  Picking olives at a slow but steady pace according to your own rhythm. It can be a great almost meditative experience. Specially as November here in Umbria usually is very agreeable and mild.

Here you can come to a rest, forget the stress of your daily life for a while and relax truly…

At the same time you stay active you move your body and the physical labour supported by a glass of pleasant genuine

local red wine (or several glasses if you like:-) makes you feel agreeably tired sending you to a deep undisturbed sleep…

And not to forget, at the end of the week you take home your own organic olive oil picked by yourself, one of the healthiest foods existing (and of course incomparably tasty)…

All these things are authentic truly natural benefits for your health and what´s even better,  you ´ll have a lot of fun (a health benefit in its own right. Isn´t it-:)

Also this year we offer to you the participation at our olive harvest at La Rogaia.

However there are only a few spaces left and you shouldn´t hesitate with your booking.

Hurry to make sure you get one of the last free spaces…

Here you can make the booking for the olive harvest

Want to know more about the olive harvest? Visit here

Don´t hesitate to pass this post on to your friends so they can profit as well…

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When I was young, I never would have done this…

Years ago I never would have considered to do this...

Years ago I never would have considered to do this...

When I was almost twenty, for the first time in my life together with my girl friend I booked a holiday (an incredible step, feeling real adultJ)
Of course we were asked if we wanted to book a travel insurance as well.
It was fairly inexpensive (Five German Marks if I remember well) but I thought it to be completely square – money thrown out of the window supposed only to make insurances rich…
It was understood that we didn´t sign up for the travel insurance.

While I was still a young man travel insurances weren´t an issue for me for any of my travels. “You cannot insure yourself against all the things that might happen to you…” was my unbeatable argument.
Apart of that I had a profound suspicion against insurances and myself being an artist a travel insurance was something from another world.

Anyway insurances were certainly not for me.
It was only when I came to know my wife that I got more interested in travel insurances. She had already traveled more than I, had had always a travel insurance and to my big surprise had even received money one time she couldn’t travel due to illness.

In the end it was two things which made me change my attitude about insurances at least a little bit.

One thing is that now having children of our own it has become fairly normal for us to book an insurance before we are going for a longer holiday.
To throw out of the window the travel costs for an entire family is simply too expensive for us. And being a family of four it can happen quickly that someone gets sick.

The other thing is that being organizers of creative classes and offering holiday apartments ourselves we realize that it happens more  often that someone has to cancel a holiday due to illness than we thought possible before.
That is bad enough. We all are looking forward to our holidays, don´t we.
Even worse if you lose also the money you paid for your vacation.

Of course if someone has to cancel we as organizers try our very best to find someone else to fill  the vacant space in the creative classes or holiday apartments (And I am convinced that all the other serious organizers do this as well).

Unfortunately however that doesn´t work out all the time and as organizers we simply cannot take the private risks of our guests.

That´s why we recommend to all our guests to get a travel insurance according to their specific needs.

Yet as most of us are not thinking too much about travel insurances most of the time, many wouldn´t even know where to book (Actually I didn´t before I met my wife J)

To make research easy for you we have set up a link on our website were you can get information about travel insurances easy and without any obligations…

So why don´t you just risk a look…?

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